Supply Chain Technology Trends For 2021

Industry 4.0 technologies continue to expand, and automated labour, cloud computing and cybersecurity have never been so relevant as during the turbulent year of 2020. Logistics and supply chain technology is also an area of rapid development, and Forbes magazine reports on how some of the new trends will perform in 2021.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Platforms

These platforms allow for the processing of huge amounts of archived and current streaming data, which can be cleaned and analysed to see if applying machine learning or AI algorithms can provide useful insights and predictions.

This new AI technology is expected to fill the gaps in the current supply chain data, allowing companies to become more streamlined and efficient. Forbes reports that most leading supply chain software companies are embedding their existing applications with AI and machine learning. An example of a blended solution is Amazon Forecast.

Autonomous Trucking

There is a lot of testing going on around putting autonomous trucks on the road, but it is not expected to become mainstream technology for a number of years yet. Even companies which have run street-legal autonomous trucks to do unmanned labour and drive on highways have shut down due to lack of funding.

Robotic Automated Storage and Retrieval

Free roaming robots are replacing manual labour in some areas of online order fulfilment, and the demand is only likely to increase as people of all generations have become accustomed to shopping online during the coronavirus pandemic. Some companies already operate a hybrid shuttle and roaming robot system to fulfil grocery orders.

The bots are agile and dynamic, and can be stored in high density. This increases productivity in an era where people expect same-day delivery of their orders. This form of goods-to-person automation provides good return on investment, and is therefore expected to become more widely adopted.

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